This morning President Obama signed the order to close Guantanamo,
as he has been promising to do for weeks, but it is unlikely the doors to the
detention center will close anytime soon. That's because no one is sure what to
do with the 250 or so people still detained there. An estimated 100 detainees
may not be prosecutable for any specific offense but are too dangerous to
release. Legal experts are divided over what should be done with them; the
options range from sending them to other countries (where they could be freed,
imprisoned or even tortured depending on what authorities want to do with
them), to detaining them indefinitely on American soil (either at Guantanamo or
elsewhere), or coming up with a new detention law that protects due process but
recognizes the unique nature of the global war against terrorism. To see a full
treatment of the challenges the new administration faces in closing Gitmo go
Check out a local's perspective after the jump.
For many, Guantanamo will represent a dark chapter in American history in which basic human rights were disregarded in an overzealous pursuit of justice. Perhaps there is no
better account of how this played out on the innocent than Mahvish Khan's book,
My Guantanamo Diary, in which the former University of Miami law student relates her
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experiences at the prison camp as a translator. Check out a video here of Khan talking about the book.
"At the heart of this big Guantanamo debate lies something much more fundamental than habeas corpus and due process," Khan says in the video. "This is about people's lives and we often don't hear about the Guantanamo detainees as individuals. It's one nameless faceless entity of foreigners who we are told are the "worst of the worst" and they've been stripped of their names and hidden because not knowing who they are makes their abuse much more palatable.
And I believe that if Americans knew who really was at Guantanamo this base wouldn't still be open."